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Consumer discretionary M&A activity falls 20% YOY by value in Q3'19

The total transaction value for M&A consumer discretionary activity in third quarter 2019 fell 20% year over year, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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Total M&A value in the consumer discretionary sector declined to $46.66 billion from $58.33 billion in the third quarter of 2018. For the nine months to Sept. 30, transaction value decreased to $164.43 billion from $193.05 billion in the same period last year.

There were 1,146 deals during the third quarter, a slight increase from the 1,135 transactions in the year-ago period. M&A activity in the sector had been steadily declining from 1,338 deals in the third quarter of 2015 to 1,296 transactions during the same period in 2016, and to 1,166 transactions in 2017.

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For the three-month period to Sept. 30, the biggest consumer discretionary deal was NV's $6.55 billion merger with Just Eat PLC. Shares of London-based food delivery company Just Eat, which has been a target of activist investors, surged 27% on July 29 after the announcement of the transaction.

The second-largest deal was CK Asset Holdings Ltd.'s $6.07 billion acquisition of U.K. pub operator Greene King PLC.

It was followed by the proposed $4.53 billion deal for children's media business Entertainment One Ltd. by toymaker Hasbro Inc. S&P Global Ratings placed Hasbro on credit watch with negative implications following the announcement of the deal. Fitch Ratings also placed the company on negative watch because the acquisition could increase its leverage profile, while Moody's put the company's rating under review for downgrade.

In addition, pub operator Stonegate Pub Co. Ltd. agreed to buy Ei Group PLC for $4.18 billion, and Z Holdings Corp., which operates Yahoo Japan, purchased a majority stake in online fashion retailer Zozo Inc. for $3.91 billion.

For the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, the largest M&A deal was travel services provider Expedia Group Inc.'s all-stock acquisition of Liberty Expedia Holdings Inc. for $22.44 billion. It surpassed the biggest M&A transaction of 2018, Walmart Inc.'s purchase of a 77% stake in India's Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. for $16 billion.

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In the third quarter of 2019, the hotels, restaurants and leisure segment accounted for the largest portion of M&A activity among consumer discretionary companies by value, with a total transaction value of $20.90 billion, up 29.3% year over year. The e-commerce industry followed at $11.37 billion, and then the entertainment industry at $4.83 billion, which was down 21.8% year over year.

Specialty retail saw total M&A transaction value of $1.69 billion, while the M&A transaction value in the auto components industry dropped 73.2% year over year to $1.54 billion.

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In the same period a year ago, the hotels, restaurants and leisure industry also had the biggest transaction value at $16.16 billion. It was followed by the diversified consumer services industry at $6.71 billion, and the leisure products industry at $6.60 billion.

The entertainment industry had a total value of $6.18 billion, and the auto components industry had $5.73 billion.